Serenity Found on Lost Lake

my all-time favorite Wisconsin locale for camping, recreation

Liv Nelson

Lost Lake, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Lost Lake, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Growing up, my family camped. A lot. I don’t mean the occasional three or four trips up north each summer like many Wisconsin families. I mean, we camped. Almost every weekend of every summer, we would traverse to a new or loved Wisconsin state park. Most of my childhood, we relied on our Eureka tent to be our home away from home. 

It was a pleasant surprise when my family would occasionally trade in the tent and search for sites with rustic cabins to rent on longer vacations. While we have visited every state park in Wisconsin (nearly 50!) and many state forests and recreational areas, the Lost Lake Cabins, situated in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, remain one of my favorite places to explore all the scenery, wildlife, and adventures Wisconsin has to offer – while also providing a few little luxuries to make an extended stay comfortable and relaxing. Located 20 miles west of Florence, and surrounded by a forest of old-growth trees, these one room, nine-bunk cabins are available May through October, and are well worth the trek across the state for a visit.

Though the lake itself receives its name for having no apparent inflow or outlet of water, visitors may also suspect the surname comes from the peaceful, quiet feeling one gets while partaking in all the activities Lost Lake has to offer. Even during our stay over the Fourth of July weekend – a time notorious for parks teeming with loud, patriotic campers – we rarely saw another soul. Stocked with brown and rainbow trout and smallmouth bass, the lake provides sport for the fishing crowd, as well as swimming, canoeing, and kayaking opportunities. The Lost Lake Trail, a one-mile interpretive hike through a stand of 150-year-old hemlock and pine, surrounds the lake and is just a short walk down from the cabins; the trail also connects to others in the Lauterman National Recreation Trail system.

Lost Lake itself is only a short drive from the Whisker Lake Wilderness. Here, guests can fish in the river and stream, swim, hike, bird watch, or mountain bike amongst the large pines near the shoreline of Whisker Lake. Throughout the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, campers can take scenic drives to dozens of waterfalls, wilderness areas, lakes, streams, and trails, or swing through any of the small towns surrounding the Forest and hit up one of the many great ice cream shops, which we may or may not have done one or four times … 

Whether for a quick weekend trip or a week-long family vacation, the cabins at Lost Lake provide a quiet get-away with countless opportunities to explore the wilderness of Wisconsin. For more info, or to reserve a cabin, visit